Ford relishes trip to leaders as United look to progress

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford

Despite being drawn against the highest ranked club in the competition, Banbury United will head to Weymouth with no fear says boss Mike Ford.

The Puritans travel to the Evo-Stik League South leaders for Saturday’s first qualifying round tie on the back of an unbeaten start to the campaign.

We’ve done well there in recent seasons and there is no reason why we can’t be successful again on Saturday

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Weymouth, the south division early pacesetters, suffered their first defeat of the season at Farnborough and Ford hopes that will add a bit of pressure on them.

His side are unbeaten, despite not being at their best recent games, but it is still a tough tie for the Puritans with Weymouth banging in the goals for fun.

Ford said: “My initial reaction was what a fantastic draw for us.

“We’re going to have real day out at the highest ranked club in the competition. We’ve done well there in recent seasons and there is no reason why we can’t be successful again on Saturday.

“The tie doesn’t hold any fears for us, they’ve suffered their first defeat, having been 3-1 up at Farnborough. If that adds to the pressure on them, all well and good but it’s about what we do on Saturday.”

Ford is happy with the way the season has started but knows his side must display their battling qualities to get something from Saturday’s tie.

He said: “We dug out a point on the opening day, played better against Halesowen and played very well against Leiston. We underachieved against Stratford, were poor at Hitchin but did enough in the second half to get the win.

“We are a team which has been difficult to beat and it will be up to Weymouth to try and break us down. We need to show resolve and be organised, as we have been so far.

“We’ve not been at our best in the last couple of games but those good attributes have helped us pick up four points from them. We need to do all those things on Saturday and I can’t wait for it.”

Ford has attacking issues with Steve Diggin carrying an ankle injury and Ricky Johnson starting the season less than 100 per cent fit. But Ford will give Diggin every chance to be considered on Saturday.

He added: “Steve Diggin will travel to Weymouth, we’ve just got to make sure he is fit enough to contribute if required. He will be well rested this week and we’ll just have to see how he is on Saturday.

“Harry Whitehead can play at both ends of the pitch so I will have no qualms about throwing him on.”